walkhighlands

Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

Signing out my 2011 account in winter sunshine

Signing out my 2011 account in winter sunshine


Postby PeteR » Wed Dec 21, 2011 11:02 pm

Route description: Meall Glas and Sgiath Chuil from Glen Dochart

Munros included on this walk: Meall Glas

Date walked: 18/12/2011

5 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

With Christmas Day falling on a Sunday this year the weekend signalled my final walk of 2011, on account of MrsR’s insistence that I mingle with the family over the Festive Period. The good news though is that New Years day is also on a Sunday too, so as many, many Scots will be nursing sore heads I’ll be opening my 2012 account in the wilds of the Highlands somewhere :D :D

The plan for my final walk of 2011 was to attempt a couple of ‘local’ hills that have been a blot on my Munro map for too long now – Meall Glas and Sgiath Chuil. I’d read many descriptions of these two by eminent guide writers which didn’t do much to enhance them or encourage me to walk them, perhaps explaining why they remained as red marks on my map. I’d had them as possibly good winter walks though, but only in reasonable weather as the terrain looked less than inviting.

I couldn’t believe my luck when I set off on Sunday morning. Ok, it was dark when I set off but the skies were clear and remained so as the sun came up. In fact, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky as I drove straight past the start of the walk at Auchessan :lol: (the two chaps kitting up was all the giveaway I needed to point out where the route started, not that that stopped me driving passed :? ). Anyway, I parked up at a lay by a little way east of the start and got myself ready. Arriving at the track to Auchessan another chap was just setting off and we got talking a while as we walked. He was off to do the Corbett of Beinn nan Imirean, having compleated the Munros some while before.
dscf5582.jpg
Early view to Ben More

dscf5583.jpg
View down Glen Dochart

I probably should have cut off earlier than I did, but I’d continued walking with this chap along the landrover track until passing through a gate on the plateau at the foot of Meall Glas Beag. Saw a fairly large herd of deer in a group away in front of Beinn nan Clach.
dscf5585.jpg
Deer

I was probably a bit further west than I should have been by this time, but from this point my walking companion and I parted company and I headed back in a north easterly(ish) direction in order to find my route onto Meall Glas. I’m not sure what difference it made, given the amount of snow anyway. Any sign of a path where I perhaps should have been walking was probably well and truly hidden by the snow and so, as it was where I was walking, it would no doubt have been a case of picking my own way toward the hill through the snow.
dscf5596.jpg
View south west(ish)

dscf5600.jpg
Sgiath Chuil

The snow was a bit of a b****r though :( :shock: Sometimes firm :D Sometimes not :shock: Sometimes hiding holes for me to fall in :shock: Sometimes showing me where the holes were, but I fell in them all the same :lol: :lol: All in all it was slow progress as the unpredictability of the snow sapped the energy from my legs :shock: The views were great though. I had no complaints there :D :D
dscf5605.jpg
Stob Coire Bhuidhe and Stob Garbh, with Cruach Ardrain poking over the top

dscf5610.jpg
Ben Vorlich (arrochar) I believe

At this point though I wasn’t sure if I would have the time to attempt Sgiath Chuil as part of this trip (all sorts of permutations of various timings were going through my head at the time and I was thinking day light would be an issue for me). I was very leaden legged :( I just put this down to one of those off days. The mind was willing – in fact the mind was very enthusiastic. But the body was putting up a fight and protesting. (it since transpires that I as suffering the early stages of a bout of pre Christmas man-flu – no doubt brought on by the whole stress and hassle of the Festive Season :evil: I just hope it has cleared by the time I collect my two lads on Friday :D)

Anyway, back to the walk. Man-flu or not I was determined to get one of these hills under my belt. The views toward Ben More and the Crianlarich hills were fantastic and giving me plenty of opportunities to stop and simply admire. The same went for Sgiath Chuil too. The sun glinting of the snow was impressive; like fairy lights flashing on a Christmas Tree 8) 8) Not that I’m the Festive type. I’m more of a bah humbug type myself :lol: :lol:

Eventually I happened upon the tracks of the two chaps I’d seen earlier kitting up and so decided to follow their tracks toward Meall Glas. Not that this necessarily made for any easier going. I was soon enjoying the odd lunge or fall here and there as I sank into the softer patches of snow.
dscf5615.jpg
Meall Glas - my destination

dscf5621.jpg
Beinn nan Imirean

dscf5623.jpg
View back to Ben More

Progress continued to be slow and I could spy, with my little eye something beginning with ‘cloud’. Heading in from the northwest(ish), but high enough not to bother me – or so I thought. As I continued walking though the view west suggested there was snow in them there clouds and it was heading my way :shock:

The route was pretty undulating, as it had been ever since leaving the landrover track earlier – up and over various rises and falls in the terrain as I headed for the bulk of the hill. But for now the sun was holding and there was plenty of blue sky to keep me sluggishly happy.

Meall Glas is one of those deceptive hills though, I think. From a distance it looks like a fairly easy big lump to walk up, but on closer inspection there was actually more ups and downs to negotiate. Always an energy sapper in the snow I find. I took a pause at the foot of the start of the ascent proper onto Meall Glas Beag. While I was sitting there I was joined by some companions as three sheep just appeared out of nowhere (else they were there all the time and I couldn’t see them against the snow). They just stood a few yards away staring at me. They seemed to be wondering what this nut case was doing putting themselves though this :lol: :lol:
dscf5624.jpg
Sheep

And so to the walk up onto Meall Glas Beag and then onto the summit of Meall Glas. From a distance this didn’t look too bad. Steep, but manageable. Perhaps it was the snow but when I started the walk up it seemed to be something of an unrelenting slog almost all the way to the top. I still managed a few got shots with the camera though :D :D
dscf5626.jpg
Ben Challum

dscf5628.jpg
View to Ben More again

dscf5630.jpg
"Woodgrain" snow

dscf5640.jpg
Toward Meall Glas

dscf5643.jpg
Beinn nan Imirean before the snow

As I plateaued on Meall Glas Beag the snow which had threatened for a while now decided to start. Visibility pretty much went, but I was able to follow the tracks of the guys who had gone before me. It was on the final rise up onto Meall Glas that got a little interesting for a while. I’m sure there is a path up this section, but in the snow the rules of engagement change and you make your way up as best you can. I was confronted by a wall of snow, which as I stood at the bottom of it looked pretty steep to me :shock: Did I try and find a route to the left or go on a bypass away to the right on what looked like more gentle (but still steep) slopes? Or did I do as the two chaps before me appeared to have done and just go for a full frontal attack?

I decided to go for the full frontal attack :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Initially everything was ok and progress was being made, albeit the snow was a bit soft in place. But then the gradient steepened further and that’s where the fun really began. The snow was deepish, and soft and hard as I tried I just couldn’t get any grip. Whatever height I gained was soon lost as I slid back down. Even the ice axe wasn’t helping much, as I couldn’t get the grip with my boots that I needed. How had the other chaps managed it I wondered :think: Perhaps crampons might help, even though the snow was soft – there was icier stuff underneath. So, I took a breather and kitted up, but that didn’t make much difference either. I was so close to the summit, but it seemed I might be defeated if I couldn’t scale this section – and it couldn’t have been more than 20 or 30 feet.

Just as I was beginning to think the hill had me beat the clouds lifted and the snow stopped. Views again :) And at the same time I spied a ledge to my left which I could get onto which would see me on an easier gradient :D :D I hadn’t noticed this in the clag that had descended when the snow came. And it was only a few feet away too :lol: :lol:
dscf5644.jpg
Beinn nan Imirean as the snow departed

From this point it was an easy walk up onto the final short plateau and then a further short climb to the summit of Meall Glas :D
dscf5655.jpg
Meall Glas summit cairn

Although the cloud was lifting and blue sky was returning the views north and west were limited as the next bank of cloud was already well on its way.
dscf5665.jpg
Ben's Ledi and Vane

This was soon to hit me as I made my way down and stayed all the way to my return to the car. It’s amazing what it did to the atmosphere of the walk. In the blue, cloudless sky at the start the area was vibrant and crisp. Now it felt cold and wintery and this was reflected in the photos, which suggested a much more seasonal atmosphere than before.

But not before I enjoyed a quick slide down that section which had caused me so much grief just a few minutes earlier when I was making my way up the hill :D :D :D
dscf5671.jpg
Steep section that nearly proved my downfall

Not that I minded. I quite enjoy the wintery stuff too and so the return route made it a real walk of contrasts. What I was sure of though, was that I was glad to have knocked the idea of Sgiath Chiul on the head when I did as it was now well and truly shrouded in cloud and pushing myself to do that hill the way i was feeling would have been a mission as the weather deteriorated.
dscf5678.jpg
Interesting snow formations over the water

dscf5684.jpg
The tree in the rock

dscf5686.jpg
Wintery Glen Dochart

dscf5698.jpg
The trees

dscf5709.jpg
River Dochart

By the time I was back at the car I was reflecting on a good day out on the hills and as good a way to end 2011 on the hills as I could have hoped for. Sgiath Chuil awaits another day as do plenty of other hills as I consider plans for 2012 – I think I have my first walked planned out already :D :D :D :D :D :D
Last edited by PeteR on Fri Dec 30, 2011 9:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
PeteR
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1899
Munros:279   Corbetts:138
Grahams:78   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:139   Hewitts:3
Joined: Jan 27, 2010
Location: North Ayrshire

Re: Signing out my 2011 account in winter sunshine

Postby pollyh33 » Wed Dec 21, 2011 11:49 pm

Another cracking report PeteR :D

These hills are hard work in even the most ideal conditions :(

I did them back in August and I had a right face on for most of the initial ascent. It was only because I was with Gagfax that I managed to get to both tops and munros- he had the tough task of jollying me along :(

Well done for bagging another hill, and your photos are fabbie too :D
User avatar
pollyh33
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 2567
Munros:282   Corbetts:12
Grahams:5   Donalds:2
Sub 2000:1   
Joined: Mar 30, 2011
Location: Rutherglen

Re: Signing out my 2011 account in winter sunshine

Postby SMRussell » Thu Dec 22, 2011 10:07 am

Great report and some excellent snaps :D

PeteR wrote: The good news though is that New Years day is also on a Sunday too, so as many, many Scots will be nursing sore heads I’ll be opening my 2012 account in the wilds of the Highlands somewhere :D :D


We hope to be doing so also!

PeteR wrote:The snow was a bit of a b****r though :( :shock: Sometimes firm :D Sometimes not :shock: Sometimes hiding holes for me to fall in :shock: Sometimes showing me where the holes were, but I fell in them all the same :lol: :lol: All in all it was slow progress as the unpredictability of the snow sapped the energy from my legs :shock: The views were great though. I had no complaints there :D :D


Haha! I know what you mean. We experienced quite a mix of ice-crusted deep snow, icy shallow snow and irritating power-puff snow on Stuchd an Lochain - feels like you're doubling the work - but as you say stopping for a moment to take in the views makes it all worth it.
User avatar
SMRussell
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 483
Munros:157   Corbetts:9
Grahams:5   Donalds:8
Sub 2000:15   Hewitts:95
Wainwrights:74   
Joined: Aug 8, 2011
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne

Re: Signing out my 2011 account in winter sunshine

Postby SusieThePensioner » Thu Dec 22, 2011 11:20 am

What a great report, really enjoyed it and some fantastic photos :thumbup:

PeteR wrote:on account of MrsR’s insistence that I mingle with the family over the Festive Period.

Good luck with the mingling :lol:

PeteR wrote:The good news though is that New Years day is also on a Sunday too, so as many, many Scots will be nursing sore heads I’ll be opening my 2012 account in the wilds of the Highlands somewhere
Enjoy!! :D
User avatar
SusieThePensioner
 
Posts: 1542
Munros:6   Corbetts:3
Grahams:4   Donalds:7
Sub 2000:3   Hewitts:108
Wainwrights:156   
Joined: Sep 7, 2011
Location: County Durham

Re: Signing out my 2011 account in winter sunshine

Postby iainwatson » Thu Dec 22, 2011 11:45 am

good report peteR,as always an interesting read,

did these hills on a decent day last year and the descent from the first and ascent to the second was huge so prob best to call off and leave for another day,

all the best for xmas and new year!
User avatar
iainwatson
Walker
 
Posts: 776
Munros:265   Corbetts:15
Grahams:5   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:2   Hewitts:2
Wainwrights:1   
Joined: Jun 28, 2010
Location: glasgow

Re: Signing out my 2011 account in winter sunshine

Postby dogplodder » Thu Dec 22, 2011 11:48 am

Loved that. :D

Although..... having succombed to woman flu you had me sweating at the thought of doing it feeling lousy. :(

Looking forward to lots more of your reports in 2012! :D :D
User avatar
dogplodder
 
Posts: 3357
Munros:218   Corbetts:51
Grahams:15   
Sub 2000:22   Hewitts:4
Wainwrights:8   
Joined: Jul 16, 2011

Re: Signing out my 2011 account in winter sunshine

Postby kevsbald » Thu Dec 22, 2011 12:40 pm

Cracking report there Pete. Really enjoyed this.
User avatar
kevsbald
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 2122
Munros:257   Corbetts:111
Grahams:73   Donalds:50
Sub 2000:12   Hewitts:8
Wainwrights:15   
Joined: Jan 15, 2009
Location: Glasgow

Re: Signing out my 2011 account in winter sunshine

Postby quoman » Thu Dec 22, 2011 1:38 pm

Hi peteR.
Quality report excellent photos.
User avatar
quoman
Walker
 
Posts: 960
Munros:282   Corbetts:10
Grahams:1   Donalds:5
Sub 2000:2   
Joined: Nov 14, 2011
Location: larbert

Re: Signing out my 2011 account in winter sunshine

Postby MarilynMunro » Thu Dec 22, 2011 2:05 pm

Another one of your cracking reports Pete, like the photos as well.
Congrats on what appears to be a real grueller, especially with the dreaded bug.
All the best
User avatar
MarilynMunro
Walker
 
Posts: 307
Munros:43   Corbetts:3
Grahams:2   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:4   
Joined: Jun 17, 2011
Location: West Lothian

Re: Signing out my 2011 account in winter sunshine

Postby Graeme D » Thu Dec 22, 2011 4:00 pm

Looks like a pristine day. Some top drawer photos in that lot! It is scary how unconsolidated snow can really do you in if you are a little bit under the weather anyway. :o
User avatar
Graeme D
 
Posts: 3346
Munros:210   Corbetts:100
Grahams:63   Donalds:22
Sub 2000:55   Hewitts:36
Wainwrights:27   
Joined: Oct 17, 2008
Location: Perth

Re: Signing out my 2011 account in winter sunshine

Postby Johnny Corbett » Thu Dec 22, 2011 5:03 pm

Signing of in style Pete, you're reports have been very enjoyable over the year and i look forward to that continuing next year. It's a shame Mrs R has put her foot down, or should that be thumb and you won't be getting out over the festive period :lol:
User avatar
Johnny Corbett
Hill Bagger
 
Posts: 2925
Munros:18   Corbetts:200
Grahams:157   Donalds:74
Sub 2000:262   Hewitts:1
Joined: May 14, 2010
Location: Livingston

Re: Signing out my 2011 account in winter sunshine

Postby lomondwalkers » Thu Dec 22, 2011 5:09 pm

Nice way to end the year Pete 8) Some cracking photies in there, looking forward to your new year report, I'll be one of the many hangovers as 2012 kicks off :lol:
User avatar
lomondwalkers
Hill Bagger
 
Posts: 835
Munros:118   Corbetts:44
Grahams:47   Donalds:42
Sub 2000:20   Hewitts:3
Wainwrights:3   
Joined: May 5, 2010
Location: Bishopbriggs

Re: Signing out my 2011 account in winter sunshine

Postby pigeon » Thu Dec 22, 2011 8:07 pm

Another great report pete,done these 2 from the top end in the summer,would have been a fair old climb up to sgaith chuil in the snow,think you made the right call,some great photies as well :thumbup:
User avatar
pigeon
Hill Bagger
 
Posts: 1333
Munros:282   Corbetts:88
Grahams:35   Donalds:35
Sub 2000:16   Hewitts:2
Wainwrights:1   
Joined: Apr 29, 2010
Location: Linlithgow

Re: Signing out my 2011 account in winter sunshine

Postby Collaciotach » Thu Dec 22, 2011 8:29 pm

Enjoyed that ,i too was out last weekend in the snow n ice.... the West is now wet n mild more like Spring :? what a difference four days makes !
User avatar
Collaciotach
Hill Bagger
 
Posts: 1701
Munros:282   Corbetts:95
Grahams:26   
Sub 2000:20   
Joined: Aug 8, 2011
Location: Gaidhealtachd an Iar

Re: Signing out my 2011 account in winter sunshine

Postby Del246 » Fri Dec 23, 2011 10:02 pm

Great report and pics. Very useful as I have still to do these. Cheers
User avatar
Del246
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 356
Munros:105   Corbetts:15
Grahams:2   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:1   
Joined: Jan 19, 2011
Location: Uddingston

5 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Next



Walkhighlands community forum is now advert free

We need help to keep the site online.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by setting up a monthly donation by direct debit?



Return to Walk reports - Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Alan B, andy63, macpee, matho, rockhopper, the bearded wanderer and 37 guests